Richard Neutra, promise and fulfillment, 1919-1932: selections from the letters and diaries of Richard and Dione Neutra

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Southern Illinois University Press, Feb 1, 1986 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages

The correspondence between Richard and Dione Neutra recounts the difficult early years and the developing philoso­phy of a man who would change the look of architecture. But as Thomas S. Hines, Neutra’s biographer, makes clear, the book does far more than trace the devel­opment of two artistic young people: “What you have here is not only valuable material about the making of an archi­tectural career and of a salutary and in­teresting marriage, but documents of Eu­ropean and American social and cultural history in the early twentieth century.” The letters and diary entries describe the period that followed World War I, with the unbelievable inflation in Germany and the Great Depression in America.

 

The settings range from imperial Vi­enna to imperial Japan, and from the nightmare of Ellis Island to a dream-house in Los Angeles. Along the way are fascinating glimpses of and comments from such architects as Gropius, Men­delsohn, Schindler, and Wright that fur­ther document Richard Neutra’s con­cepts, approaches, and attitudes, his frustrations and achievements.

 

Running as a charming counterpoint to these intellectual themes is the story of a romance that was to endure for half a century, for many of the letters are first and foremost love letters that chronicle the Neutra’s meeting, courtship, and first ten years of marriage. The book is gener­ously illustrated by both personal photo­graphs and photographs of Neutra’s work.

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About the author (1986)

Dione Neutra is one of the few musi­cians who have mastered the difficult art of accompanying their own voices with contrapuntal melodies on the cello. She has lectured widely on Richard Neutra.

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